City Council meeting Tuesday night lasted about 5 hours. I was there for the whole thing, participating in two delegations on transportation issues. My delegation on increasing the mill rate to purchase buses was virtually ignored, but I was among three consecutive delegations mentioning the deficient Para-transit service. Ward 1 Councillor Barbara Young noted that while caring for her wheelchair bound husband, they’d used taxis because they could afford to, and Para-transit service was not sufficient for their purposes. Council’s preferred solution is to seek money from the province, who had promised to fund the service at much greater levels than they currently are.
I was totally floored that John Hopkins used a line from my January council meeting. Granted he used it with the intention of boosting money for infrastructure, but transit is a sort of infrastructure also, and it too needs greater investment to grow.
One manager in the administration, Wandzura seems to say we should only “meet demand” for transit (instead of striving actively to increase the demand); that was disappointing to hear. Given that Regina Transit says we’re not meeting demand, and could use 27 more buses, I don’t see how Council’s choice tonight to not put more (not even 0.1%) into the rate increase fits with their talk about improving transit and paratransit. Maybe there is hope for next year (when the increase will have to be greater than .1% to make up for this year’s missed chance).
I was pleasantly surprised by how enthusiastically Bike Regina’s delegation was taken. I think Council would be a much better place to present if as many questions were asked of most unique delegations at a meeting. Sincere thanks to Councillor Hincks who had thoughtful questions Tuesday evening.
Snow routes may be coming for next Winter. This means roads which get cleaned more completely of snow, and semi-abandoned cars may not get their free parking on our streets over Winter. The admin. is also looking into identifying how valuable a parking space is in Regina (downtown, and suburbs also, I’d presume). In LA a parking spot is worth about $31,000. In a #UofR parkade, it’s about $33,000 a stall if newly built.
The clear reversal (err, not officially) on the pool closure recommendation was also a pleasant surprise.
In the scrum aftereward, the Mayor was asked by CJME’s Book why council reversed on the public input on pools, but not other higher profile projects (stadium). The Mayor’s response which I only partially caught, seemed to suggest that it’s a smaller expense to consider.
Many more thoughts on Twitter while they last, on hash tag #yqrcc (Regina City Council abbrevated).
Maybe there is a little hope for this City yet on building a vibrant and inclusive place to thrive.